27: Add a Recurring Revenue Stream to Your Business with Affiliate MarketingDec 14, 2022
🚀 Looking for a way to generate additional revenue in your online business? Affiliate marketing allows you to earn a commission simply by connecting the tools and programs you love with your audience, clients, and customers. In this episode, I share how affiliate marketing can add recurring revenue with exponential growth opportunities. Listen as I share my 5 proven strategies for boosting your revenue with affiliate marketing.
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If you would love to add an additional stream of revenue to your business you're going to love my topic today. Because all of us want to add additional revenue to our business, especially revenue that is recurring or passive income. Meaning that we have an opportunity to earn money, not always when we are trading time for money. In certain revenue sources you may be trading time for money in one-to-one coaching, or maybe you are a trainer and you only get paid when you show up to train, or you only get paid when you do a product demonstration.
Well, today I'm going to talk about affiliate marketing, which is one form of passive revenue. So, let me go ahead and share my slides if you're watching with us on YouTube or on my blog. And of course, if you're listening to the podcast, we'll be sure to link the video below in your show notes. If we've never met, I'm Lydia Martin with Banish Business Clutter, and I love helping online business owners get unstuck. I love helping them clear the clutter, whether it's mental clutter, digital clutter, physical clutter. I want to empower you with the tools and tips and strategies that are going to help you move forward. And in my story today, I think it's really going to resonate with some of you especially if you are an online business owner, whether you sell courses or products, we all have different ways to add revenue streams to our business.
So, let me share with you the revenue sources I started with when I launched my business in March of 2020. I definitely launched with a digital course. It was what I was super passionate about doing is teaching business owners, again, how to reduce clutter in their business. My first course was called The Digital Clutter Cure, still our most popular program today, and that was a huge source of income for our business in 2020, because we launched it. We did three live launches. We launched with a challenge in March, July and October of that year, and it generated 60.7% of our revenue in 2020.
But I was also doing a lot of one-on-one coaching. I'm so thankful for that one-on-one coaching experience because I truly got to know my audience. And in working with business owners one-on-one, I got to share screens, I got to see where they were getting stuck, I got to see the systems that a lot of online business owners needed. And that is actually the content that ended up going in my course. So, I'm very thankful for that coaching opportunity. But like I shared earlier, coaching is active income, right? The only way I earn money as a coach is if I'm physically there. So, if I'm ever on vacation or I am sick, or I need to take care of a family member, have a family emergency. If I am not coaching, I'm not earning revenue.
So, as you can see in 2020, that made up almost 30% of my revenue that year. So, I was doing a lot of one-on-one coaching. At that time, I didn't have any digital products. I wasn't doing any Done-For-You services, but I was doing a little bit with affiliate marketing. And I started out really just thinking of affiliate marketing as I already use a few tools, I love these tools, why not make a little bit of money on the side by connecting people with the tools I was already using?
So, one of the first tools I was an affiliate partner with was Evernote because in 2016 I became an Evernote expert, a certification, we were called actually Evernote certified consultants back then. But in 2016 when that certification took place, one of the perks was that we could be an affiliate with Evernote and earn a recurring revenue anytime someone joined Evernote through our unique partner link. And that's how I got started with affiliate marketing. But it was very small.
I didn't even have my business in 2016. I was in a different business. But a lot of people came to me for digital help. I was at that time in a corporate job doing a lot of training and coaching with online home-based business owners. So, they all were looking for digital systems. And when they would see what I was doing with Evernote, I was like, oh, I love Evernote. It's amazing. Want to give it a try? Here's my link for a free or paid account. And when I would share the link, of course, it wasn't my Evernote.com, it was my link, my affiliate partner link. And even if they joined Evernote for free that would link back to me if at any time within a certain timeframe they decided to upgrade to a paid plan.
So, I'm so glad I had this foresight in 2020 to at least start the ball, right? I got the ball rolling with affiliate marketing. You'll see in a minute how much that actually generated. But you can see it was about 3% of my revenue that year. Not a ton, but you're going to see in a minute I was thrilled with the amount of money that I made that year from something I didn't feel like was hard. I was already teaching. I was already coaching. And it was just a matter of connecting people with something I already used and loved.
And then the other revenue in 2020 was speaking. I had a few online speaking engagements and that brought in the remaining 7% of my revenue that year. So, let's compare that to 2022. Here we are now third full year of business and you can see digital courses are still bringing in now 63%. So, over 60% of my revenue is still coming from digital courses. We have created so many more courses now in the last three years. Some starter courses on tools like Ecamm, Kajabi, Canva. I actually now have a signature program called Challenge Launch Roadmap which teaches people my whole process on how I launch courses with a challenge.
So, courses are still a huge part of my revenue, but you can see that my coaching has dropped to 7.3%. And that was very intentional because digital courses are also a form of passive income once the work is done. So, once you've created your course, yes, you have to show up to live-launch it depending on the type of course it is. But that course can always, depending on the course you're creating, be offered on evergreen meaning it's always available. And we have a few evergreen courses that will bring in money while I am sleeping which is nice. And that is really the goal. My goal is to be able to create revenue sources in my business, work hard to create amazing quality things, but at some point be able to reap the benefit without having to work and hustle as hard as you do in the beginning, right?
I always say it's not easy, okay? Don't ever assume that the journey is easy, that it's a get rich quick thing. But don't you all want to work hard to then get residual reward and revenue in the future? And that's what digital courses do for me. That's what affiliate marketing does for me. One-on-one coaching is not going to do that for me. So, I just want to explain the difference, right, between that active and passive revenue.
Now we did implement, in actually 2021, just a few digital products. I created a tracker I'm going to tell you about in a minute. I had a sprint planner because I was helping business owners plan their goals for their business. So just very small things that we created that brought in 1.5% revenue in 2020. And then we started doing a few Done-For-You services. We don't promote this a lot. It's more for our individual coaching clients who want us to create, for example, Done-For-You services in Kajabi. So, that brought in 1.8% in 2022.
And as you can see, I did not promote speaking. 2020 was the last time I really promoted speaking. I do love to speak but actually I prefer training in a course platform than working so hard to deliver a keynote or a training. So, I typically do not promote that as a service. So, that I did at 0%. I feel like it's a lot of work and I would rather work really hard for something I can continually sell.
But let me share with you how my affiliate marketing revenue has changed since 2020. Remember it was only 3.1% of my revenue in 2020. In 2022 it was 26.3%. Y'all, that is a huge jump. And if you think about it, you know, yes, we can add additional revenue to our business by adding a new revenue stream or source, but if you already have a stream or source, what can you do to increase that? And as you can see, the highest biggest jump in exponential numbers was affiliate marketing. And that just shocked me.
Now, how do I even know? How did I get this breakdown? Well, I highly encourage everyone to be using, obviously, accounting software in your business. We personally use QuickBooks. I'm not an affiliate with QuickBooks. They're many others out there like FreshBooks or Wave Accounting. But we use QuickBooks. But one thing that was frustrating me about QuickBooks is I couldn't create the reports I really wanted to see in my business.
So, actually I created this resource originally for me and then I loved it so much I created a version that we now sell. It's called my Business Profitability Tracker. You can learn more about that at lydiamartin.biz/tracker. But this tracker literally keeps track of each revenue source for me. So, you enter in your revenue sources, you put in each of your monthly totals, which you gather from the sources. Like I go to Kajabi to find out what I sold in courses and how much I sold in coaching and digital products. I go to QuickBooks to see how much was brought in from affiliate marketing.
So, wherever you're tracking your numbers, you take all of that info, you put it into your business profitability tracker, and then it gives you the percentages. So, I didn't have to work really hard to share those numbers with you because I've been using this tracker since 2021. So, if tracking numbers like this is something you want to do in your business, I highly recommend it. To me, numbers don't lie. Being able to see that jump in affiliate marketing percentage is what actually inspired me to start teaching affiliate marketing to others because I see the potential of it. It's one of the reasons why I wanted to do this episode today.
So, let's go ahead and share actual numbers. And I know this may seem strange and please know I'm not sharing this to brag. I know some of you will look at these numbers and think I can't even imagine earning that. And others are going to look at it and say, "That's so little. It's peanuts to me." So, I know we're all in a different part of the journey. This is not for comparison, but I always love being transparent with the numbers. And of course, these numbers are revenue only. It does not include my expenses, which is actually trackable on my business profitability tracker. Our business generates 60 to 65% in profit margin every single month. That's our goal. So, I just always want to be realistic and transparent.
Today, I want to share with you though actual numbers. What does it really look like? What's the possibility? Because I want it to inspire you to know that this could be a very, very relevant revenue stream for you and your business. So, in 2020 this is the actual number. I shared that it was 3.1% of my revenue. And remember, I launched my business in March. So, this would've been from March to December. Affiliate marketing brought in just under $2,000. I was thrilled. I thought, wow. I made an extra $2,000 just by sharing something I already love. I mean, I thought, how cool and amazing is this?
But then I started being much more intentional in 2021. I started realizing that there were way more affiliate opportunities out there than I had realized. And so by being more intentional and connecting with more partners of products and tools that I love, look at the difference it made in 2021. It generated over $18,000 in 2021. That is a huge jump from $2,000. And this is where I was like, wow, I really should be spending some time here. No this did not bring in obviously as much as my digital courses, but the growth potential and the long-term recurring revenue potential is really why I started focusing on this even more in 2021. And look at the difference it made.
In 2022, it generated actually over $54,000. Now I am recording this episode on December 9th. So, December is not final, but I did punch in all of the numbers of revenue I know is coming in because you read reports from your affiliate partners. So, I know I'm getting paid at least this amount in December, but it's most likely going to be even higher. But over $54,000 in one year just from my affiliate marketing revenue stream.
This to me is life changing. This is an amount of money for many years I didn't earn in my business in an entire year. And this is just one piece of the pie. So, after seeing these numbers, you can imagine how excited I was to start talking more about affiliate marketing opportunities with my audience. So, I actually created a new program. I'll talk about that in a minute. But I know everyone on this episode is thinking, well, if this is what's possible, how did you make it happen? It really was five strategies that I implemented, especially in 2022, that made all the difference. But a lot of the strategies I had really started from the very beginning. And I won't go into depth on each one of these, but I will share with you what they are.
It really comes down to first, obviously creating a system that allows you to do this effectively. Being an affiliate marketer means that you know how it works, how to be compliant, where to find your links, your unique links that you're sharing, what tools to use to make sharing easy. You're also going to need to be organized in knowing where your links are. Because I will tell you, if you sign up to be an affiliate partner with let's say, 10 different platforms, and then you do not have a system for knowing those logins, knowing what the links are, knowing where to find the graphics that they're providing, it's going to be a very stressful experience, but it's also not going to be effective. So, it is all about systems.
The second, and really to me the foundation of affiliate marketing, is building trust with your audience. Trust is all about integrity. It's all about sharing genuinely and authentically. I never want to be an affiliate marketer that just talks about products because it generates me money. I always want to come from a place of saying this is a tool I use, or this is a course that I've gone through, and it's made a major impact in my life and that's why I'm sharing it with you. And if you have that kind of trust built with your potential customers, your leads, students, members, clients. Then when that trust is built, they will follow your lead in many things.
So for example, as a digital tools trainer, because people have seen me teach on certain tools or they've seen me participate in certain programs, when I come across or share in a way that's about value and I'm sharing transparently how I am utilizing that tool or how much that program helped me or maybe something I was struggling with and what that helped me overcome, people relate to me and they trust me. And then they say to themselves, okay, I’ve followed Lydia long enough that if she's recommending this, I trust it's a good thing. I'm going to jump in too. So, trust is a huge part of being an effective affiliate marketer.
Number three is content. If you are not sharing content consistently, it's going to be challenging to generate revenue with affiliate marketing. You can't not share content and let me just give an example. You're never on social media, you never share anything, and then all of a sudden you're like, hey, I recommend this program, I recommend this product. Here's the link. People are not going to just click on a link and sign up for something without content. Content meaning education, or entertainment, or awareness, or something that they need to believe in or understand. Content's coming from you and your business, hopefully consistently anyway. So, you want to think about those ways that you can then bring in a partner tool.
So for example, if I share content on three ways to increase profitability in your business, and I may be sharing about my tracker, I need to be thinking about am I an affiliate for any tools that I could also share in this opportunity? Or if I'm teaching people how to write engaging copy maybe I'm going to pull in Jasper. Jasper is one of my favorite partners because I love Jasper. My affiliate link is lydiamartin.biz/jasper by the way. And it's an amazing tool that we use for brainstorming copywriting ideas and things like that. But that's an example. I'm coming across with content about why copy is so important in your business. And then I'm sharing what I use as a resource to make copywriting easier and that's Jasper. So, that's an example of sharing content and then bringing in that affiliate marketing partner as an additional resource.
You always want to be giving value and that's step four. It's never about sharing affiliate marketing links because of what it's going to do for you. You always want to be thinking through the lens of your ideal client, your ideal customer. What is it that they need? Everything we do in our business is needs-based selling, right? So, finding their pain points, understanding what they desire, and delivering value that gives them that. That will help boost your affiliate marketing results.
And then the last and final strategy that is so important is the follow up. You all have probably heard the phrase "the fortune is in the follow up". And when it comes to affiliate marketing, this is so true. Just because you share a link once, just because you put a partner link up on a social post once does not mean that it's going to work for you. There's a lot of follow up meaning continued posts about that topic. Or if you are working with someone or sharing a link and you might say, "have questions about the tool? Reach out to me in a DM."
I have a lot of personal conversations with people that have questions about the tools and resources that I'm sharing. Well, if I'm in a personal message with them and we're having a conversation and I am answering those questions and then I notice that they don't sign up for that tool or program. I'm going to reach back out and say, "Hey, I just wanted to check back in. Did you get a chance to check out Jasper? Do you have any other questions? Did you get a chance to check out this tool or this program? How can I help? Do you want to see behind the scenes of this program?" A lot of times I'll hop on Zoom with somebody for 10 minutes, show them behind the scenes of a tool, and just like that they are sold and ready to jump in.
So, I hope these five strategies have been helpful. There's a lot of just little quick nuggets that I shared with you today. But if you really want to learn step by step all of the things that I've done to grow my affiliate marketing revenue over the last three years, I do invite you to check out my new program Five Proven Strategies to Boost Your Revenue with Affiliate Marketing. You're going to go to banishbusinessclutter.com/blueprint and this program not only includes a two hour training where I go through every step of affiliate marketing, but you're also going to get my affiliate marketing planner, tracker, calculator, guide as an FAQ guide where I answer all the common questions. And you're also going to get my partner links list so that you'll have ideas for the different types of programs and tools that you could partner with as well.
So, I hope these tips have been helpful. I hope it's opened your mind to what's possible with affiliate marketing. Most importantly, I hope it's inspired you to take your first step. Who can you partner with? What programs can you partner with? What are the things you're already using and loving that you can connect with others to add revenue to your business?
Thanks so much for listening. I'll see you next time.
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